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Assyrian Democratic Movement Declaration

Posted: Friday, January 17, 2003 at 10:50 AM CT

Declaration: regarding the stance of the Assyrian Democratic Movement towards the approval by the parliament of the Iraqi Kurdistan region of the plans for constitutional federal republic of Iraq and the constitution of the region of Iraqi Kurdistan.

The parliament of the region of Iraqi Kurdistan discussed the joint federal plan presented by the ruling parties in the region, Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and approved this plan as a proposal during its session of 7th November 2002. Considering that the Assyrian Democratic Movement - through the purple list – together with the two parties established the region’s parliament in 1992 and since the purple list won four seats out of the five seats allocated to our people with their several nomenclatures and according to the founding laws relied upon by the parliament, it is necessary to inform ADM bases, supporters and in general our people together with the friendly and allied forces, Kurdistani, Islamic and Iraqi patriots and the friends of our nation both inside and outside Iraq to be aware of the position of our movement towards this issue and its aspects.

In general, we were hoping that now we are approaching a turning point concerning the future of Iraq, that the position towards the cause of our people in such projects would have taken in to consideration the level of our alliance and long tormenting struggle as fraternal nations, the justice of our cause and the persecutions that have been inflicted on the Assyrian people over centuries. However, based on objective and realistic evaluation of the present situation of our nation and its historical weight and struggle, its right to share and based on deep understanding of current international circumstances and concepts, which is contained in the proposal do not meet the aspirations of our people, but rather are in line with our experiences during the past years, that is to say attempting to marginalize our cause.

The Assyrian Democratic Movement presented a communiqué to the leadership of the two allied parties, who originated the draft constitutions, in response to their request. In that communiqué, we have addressed our reservations and observations, which covered the following:

The proposal suggests that the make-up of the Iraqi nation consists of Arabs and Kurds, considering them to be the “two main nations” and mentioned other nations as “ethnic groups” (this was later amended in parliament as “national groups”) this includes Assyrians and Turkmen, both these descriptions mean inferior nations. This takes much away from them as national rights are not measured by size, particularly in the case of indigenous people and is contrary to the principle of equal national partnership. The proposal refers to the rights of ethnic nationalities without specifying the details or process of implementation. The proposal dealt with our people as two different nations (Assyrian and Chaldean) overstepping the historical fact of unity of our people and bypassing the laws of the parliament which are still in effect in the region. Additionally, this is considered to be interference in the internal affairs of our people, known by several different names (Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac). Our nation consists of several different church denominations, Chaldean Catholic, Syriac Catholic and Orthodox, Eastern Assyrian with two calendars, Protestants and others. Regarding this issue, the only point raised by the representative of the Purple List (ADM) whilst parliament was in session and during his discussion with the respected leadership committee of the parliament was in reference to the identification of our people, in which he requested that the word “and” be removed from between Assyrian and Chaldean, as an expression of unity of our people. This was rejected, which means an insistence in dividing our people. The proposal stated that Iraq consists of Arabic and Kurdish Federals and the regions’ council consists of representatives from the two regions. This eliminates the roles of other nations. We are for an administrative and political Federal system that guarantees the rights of all the people of Iraq, a system which enables all the groups to exercise their unique aspects, strengthening the national character and hence serve Iraqi unity. Additionally, we are for a Federal Council in which all ethnic nationalities are represented. These remarks and others, in our opinion, are complicated points which are not possible to be resolved at this stage especially when it is required that we all stand together for the sake of the desired change that we all seek. Therefore, it was our decision to vote against the proposal. Our objection to the main issues within the proposal does not mean our rejection of the aspirations of the Kurdish people and their rights to express the formula by which they envisage within the Iraqi national unity. Our movement has accepted, through the purple list, the decision of federalism for the region of Iraqi Kurdistan in parliament in 1992, at the Salah-Al Din conference in 1992 and at the New York conference for Iraqi opposition in 1999 and together with the four Kurdistani parties as part of the Joint Work Committee which was announced recently.

At the same time, we participated in establishing the parliament and its continuation as a legitimate institution in the region, especially during the internal fighting and at other critical stages, to restore unity. This participation and partnership in the democratic process in the region is what gives this experiment a democratic overview, as it reflects the ethnic diversity, fraternity and mutual respect between the ethnic components. We were hoping that the parliament would have stood by the rights of our people and their internal unity.

We, the Assyrian Democratic Movement, promise our Assyrian-Chaldean nation that we shall remain faithful to our principles and political path which we have taken since the establishment of the movement, who’s noble and immortal martyrs contributed to erect its pillars. We will endeavour to strengthen the relations of our people with the fraternal Kurdish nation. We will safeguard our national agenda with all the fraternal nationalities in Iraq, Arab, Kurd and Turkmen and with all the patriotic factions regardless of their ideology for a free democratic Iraq.

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